Chapter 14

Practicing Gender Neutrality in Organizations

Päivi Korvajärvi

University of Tampere


The aim of this chapter is to rethink the tensions between the simultaneous culture of denial and acceptance of the significance of gender at work, and reflect such tensions in a framework of feminist theorizations on the current developments in capitalism. The argument for the simultaneous ignorance and approval of gender matters is based on empirical work conducted in Finland. Finland is usually found to be representative of the Nordic countries, which are renowned for their social democratic welfare systems (Esping-Andersen, 1999). The overwhelming majority of the Finnish labor force works in the service sector (Pyöriä, 2005: 35) with the economy based on the advanced use of information and communication technology – developing itself as a leading information society as well as preserving the main structures of the welfare state (Castells and Himanen, 2002: 156).

Nonetheless, Finland is not a high-tech welfare wonderland. On the contrary, during the first few years of the twenty-first century significant cuts in the services provided by the welfare state have been made and a strong trend toward outsourcing welfare services has been observed. In addition, the rapid growth of knowledge work, which is partly based on information and communication technology, has come to an end (Pyöriä, 2005: 288). It has been estimated that the changes underway are leading to deeper social ...

Get Handbook of Gender, Work, and Organization now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.